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Critical Role: The Chroma Conclave part 4

By: I.Am.No.Man

Chapter 4: The Chroma Conclave

Story Arc Recap of Episodes 50-53

You finally made it to the last episode recap! These next few episodes lead up to Vox Machina’s first big boss battle with the Chroma Conclave. From this point on, I’ll be writing an episode by episode reader’s guide to the remaining episodes as I watch them for the first time. Enjoy this last major story recap and get ready for an incredible dragon fight!

 

Episode 50: Best Laid Plans

Grog still in a daze, stands frozen over Pike. His companions call out to him for aid, still being pummeled by the sphinx. Vex rushes to Pike’s aid and helps her remove the blade and heal her grave wounds. Scanlan uses dimension door to jump into the tornado. The sphinx attacks Vex, sending her flying unconscious across the room. Vax, ties a rope to his waist and leaps through the tornado to get to Scanlan. Grog, snaps back into reality, and shouts out the final two runes he saw in the portal. Scanlan gives Vax a wink and uses his dimension door to escape back into the sphinx room. Percy finally gets the sphinx’s name in the correct order yelling “Kamaljiori!

Kamaljiori immediately calms the storms and attacks against Vox Machina. He commends the group on their honor and courage. He gives them the Vestige of Divergence he guarded for eons, a thin silver blade called the Myth Carver. He also names other vestige, Fenthras, a legendary bow that felled titans in an ancient war. Cabal’s Ruin, a magic stealing cloak. The Plate of the Dawnmartyr, a high priest’s powerful armor. The Spire of Conflux, a mage’s staff lost in the Endless Maze of the Abyss. The Titanstone Knuckles, which Grog knows his Uncle Kevdak wears with pride. Finally, Whisper, a dagger buried in the bottom of the Osmyth sea. Kamaljiori lays back into the shadows of his lair and wishes the heroes luck on their quest. Sand and wind whip up around the group, obscuring their view and seconds later they are back at the entrance in the mountains.

Bruised and disoriented, Vox Machina take a moment to collect themselves and examine their condition. Pike’s intense wound from Craven Edge is healing slowly. She consoles Grog who still cannot believe he almost killed his buddy. As Grog walks away from his companions to inspect Craven Edge more closely, the blade retracts the jagged black spikes and shrinks back to its original form. He hears Craven Edge’s desperate voice in his mind. “So hungry.” His vision goes dark.

Pike glances over just as Grog’s body falls limply to the ground. Running to his side, she kicks the sword away from Grog and tries to revive him. Grog is dead. The soul has been  sucked from his body. Keyleth begins a spell to try and destroy the sword, but Scanlan cautions her against harming the sword in any way. Percy brushes his hand over the sword and threatens to drop it down the darkest abyss, lost to all humanity, if it doesn’t return Grog to them. Pike completes her resurrection spell just as the sword begins to billow inky black shadows. A horrifying scream sounds in Percy’s mind and the shadows tower over him. Grog’s arm shoots up and grab Scanlan by the throat, choking him for a few tense moments before Grog completely returns to consciousness.

After holding a contentious intervention, Grog agrees to give the sword up. Pike gingerly grasps the sword and sends a holy light into the sword, seeing a vision of the swords first wielder. She sees a soul, demon cursed and bound to the blade, thirsting for blood for eternity. Pike channels her magic deeper, breaking any hold Craven Edge still had on Grog. She tosses the sword to Keyleth who banishes Craven Edge to an isolated pocket dimension to rot alone. Content with their dealings and healings, Vox Machina make their way back to Westruun.

Near the outskirts of town, Vax comes across a new scarecrow in a field. Finding it odd and out of place, he investigates. He realizes the body is familiar. It’s farmer Reginald, whose daughter Vox Machina promised to rescue. Feeling guilty over his death, they promise to find his daughter and exact vengeance on the goliaths who killed Reggie. They take shelter for the evening and plan their next move against Kevdak and the Goliath Horde.

 

Episode 51: Test of Pride

At the crack of dawn, Vox Machina begin their plan of attack on the goliaths. Keyleth digs a trench, Grog gets ready for a family reunion, Scanlan decides to wing it. Trying to buy his friends some time by causing a distraction, Scanlan teleports to the center of the goliath camp, casts an enormous thunderwave that knocks several goliath to the ground, then makes his grand escape.

Dashing from portal to portal as he tries to evade the barbarians pursuing him, Scanlan manages to run directly into the hiding place of Dr. Dranzel and his travelling troupe. His daughter Kaylee peers around Dr. Dranzel and Scanlan asks for her help to lead the horde away. A goliath begins to break down the barricade, reaching through the hole towards Scanlan.

Together, Scanlan and Kaylee conjure a thick fog obscuring the room and a huge spectral goliath head in the entrance. They convincingly manage to trick the barbarians into thinking the specter is Stonejaw Strongjaw, Grog’s father, back from the dead to seek his revenge. The barbarians flee, frightened into submission and return to camp to tell Kevdak what they saw. Scanlan helps Kaylee and Dr. Dranzel’s crew to escape through the city and into the sewers. He says his goodbyes to his daughter and friends at the sewer entrance, promising to see them again soon. Once they are safe, he begins to make his way back to the city center.

Meanwhile, the rest of Vox Machina begin to fight their way into the city center, Grog at the forefront, cutting down any who stand in their way. Keyleth notices the Goliaths are gathering the imprisoned townspeople and using them as human meat shields. The companions take a short rest to hide and watch the goliath camp and make a new plan. Grog wants to face Kevdak one-on-one. A battle to the death. His companions know this may be their only chance at defeating the lethal Goliath Horde.  One by one, Grog’s friends give him something to aid in his battle. Scanlan sings him a fight song for inspiration, Keyleth give him magical guidance, and Vex flashes him, because boobs.

Grog walks into the center of the Goliath camp, calling for Kevdak to face him. The goliath’s surround Grog, throwing insults and drawing weapons. They chant for Kevdak, the Thunderlord, to come out and fight. Kevdak, a hulking, blue-grey goliath monstrosity enters the courtyard. The shining Titanstone Knuckles glinting on Kevdak’s hands taunt Grog. Kevdak accepts Grog’s challenge for a fight to the death and calls for his herd to assemble a fight ring. The goliaths drag long, sharpened stakes into the courtyard, forming a deadly ring of spikes.

Kevdak stares down Grog, slamming his fists together menacingly, the Titanstone Knuckles lending him unnatural strength and ferocity. Like a Hulk v. Red Hulk battle, shit goes down. The two goliaths fly at each other, ferocious and raging, matching each hit blow-for blow, skewering each other onto the spikes of the ring. Grog fights a good fight, but Kevdak is stronger in every way. Bloodied, and seeing no way to win, Grog drops to his knee in front of Kevdak, saying. “Clearly, I have been a fool. You are truly a foe to be reckoned with.” Then, glancing to his friends, hidden on the rooftops, he bellows.  “Vox Machina! Fuck shit up!”

 

Episode 52: The Kill Box

Kevdak and the goliaths glance upwards just as Vox Machina descend onto the battle field. Scanlan gets Kevdak’s attention by mooning him, distracting him enough to cast hold person and paralyze the goliath. A swarm of goliaths move into the battle ring, surrounding Grog and Vox Machina. The group focus their attacks on the paralyzed Kevdak, severing a limb and gravely wounding him. Grog tries to hold off the horde as long as possible, watching his friends get crushed by the raging goliaths. Vex, seeing Grog near death, swoops in on her broom and uses her poke-ball necklace to medevac Grog out of the battle field.

Kevdak finally breaks free from Scanlan’s paralysis spell and tries to duck into a house for cover. Vex, barely clinging to life herself after rescuing Grog, flies high above the battle field, whispers a word of prayer, and releases Grog directly over the escaping Kevdak. In an epic, superhero-like, Grog falls onto Kevdak with his axe cleaving his uncle completely in two.

Kevdak and Grog lie in a crumpled pile on the ground, Kevdak obviously dead, blood and guts littering the ground, Grog knocked unconscious and legs shattered from the fall. Silence falls over the battlefield. Vex rushes in and heals Grog enough that he can stand. Grog’s companions join him and face the goliaths. Weapons still in hand, the horde waits for some cue or hint to attack. Scanlan begins to chant “Strongjaw, Strongjaw” and Grog makes an adrenaline fueled speech to end all speeches. The goliaths begin to join Scanlan’s chant of Grog’s name and the elders bow to their new leader.

Grog tells the herd to bring Zanror, Kevdak’s son, to the battlefield. Zanror, his wife and infant child are brought to Grog’s feet in chains. Kevdak had imprisoned his son Zanror for being a traitor to the herd and attempting to overthrow his father as leader of the herd. The herd encourages Grog to kill his cousin Zanror and take his place as leader of the herd. Zanror is adamant that the herd should not have to pay homage to the black dragon, saying this is the reason he tried to overthrow Kevdak. Grog raises his Bloodaxe over his head and swings… but turns sharply and beheads Greenbeard, Kevdak’s second in command. Grog rouses the goliaths into following Zanror’s wishes in taking on the black dragon, Umbrasyl. The herd accept this call to arms and Grog excitedly yells, “Tomorrow, we bathe in the blood of a dragon!”

 

Episode 53: At Dawn, We Plan

With the rush of battle and Grog’s victory wearing off, Vox Machina realize the gravity of the possibility of taking on one of the Chroma Conclave ancient dragons. Pike offers the idea of going north into the city to try and find her great-great grandfather Wilhand Trickfoot and hole up in his home for a night’s rest. The group agrees, and Pike leads them to WIlhand’s brick home on the hill. They find the house partially collapsed, apparently damaged in the dragon attack. Pike unlocks the front door and begins searching the home for her Pawpaw Wilhand. The home looks ransacked, all the furniture pushed up against the door as a barricade.

After the search of the house doesn’t turn up Wilhand, Pike remembers her Pawpaw had a secret hiding place under the floorboards. Pike hears murmuring under the floor and pulls Pawpaw up into the house. He is overjoyed to see his granddaughter and Grog, who saved his live many years ago. He recounts the day the dragon came and the goliath horde coming into the town.

Seeing Wilhand’s home is in no state for rest, Scanlan summons his magical mansion in Wilhand’s living room and invites everyone in for the night. Then they plan…and plan… and just for good measure, plan some more. Traps, and trenches, and goliaths with chains. Ideas are tossed around, abandoned and picked apart. Frustrated, and no closer to a solid dragonslaying plan, Vox Machina decide to raid a nearby wizard’s home for any trinkets he left behind. Carefully making their way through the booby-trapped funhouse of a wizard’s mansion, Keyleth uncovers a circlet of golem control and she awakens a stone golem she names Fassbender. She awkwardly, and loudly gets her new stone friend back to Wilhand’s house, only half destroying a few doorframes and stair cases in the process.

Bolstered by their new stony friend, Vox Machina return to planning the dragon fight. Vax and Scanlan go on a side quest to make sure Kaylee escaped safely. Keyleth does a training montage with Fassbender. Grog admires his new Titanstone Knuckles and punches through a few walls. In the heat of the moment, Scanlan proposes marriage to Pike and… the situation turns into one of my favorite interactions in the show thus far.

The next morning, Vox Machina return to the goliath’s camp and meet with Zanror. They manage to talk Zanror into waiting one more day to attack the dragon. They offer a plan to set a trap for the dragon, attack it when it’s vulnerable. Zanror rallies the goliath herd to stay and fight to the death against Umbrasyl, the Hope Devourer, black dragon of the Chroma Conclave.

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